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Chasiiii^ ^ollo\\ \orls 

by Jack Tranmicll 

Theyina\ \\i>\ niiikc llie big headlines. Iml 

\clln\\ ix'icli ate lasl\ and fnii to calcli. 

Clearing a Path lor a Scenic 

InTiiii Tlioriilon 

The uj)[)('r New l\i\cr in \ iiyinia ollcis 

magniticcnl xiewsand healthy fisheries. 

1 A Of Grouse and Grizzled Skippers 
^ -^ l)v Bruce Iiiiiiaiii 


Earh snccessioiial hahilat rea])S henelils I'oi'a 
whole ran^e oi species. 

B e 1 tvvay Insiders: 1 ' 1 1 e Tro 1 1 1 

of Fairfax Connly 

bv Beth Hester 

Fishini; i;iiide kiki ( iaKin piYnes thai Ironl 
sometimes lax or more iiri)ati en\ irons. 

O O \\ liite-Nose Syndrome Leaves 
a Trail of Devastation 
by Crisliiia Saiili(>sle\aii 
Wildlife hioloi^Tsts are hracini^ for the 
worst in the (ace oClliis deadhdisease. 


Introducing .\e\\ coiners to Fishing 
by Marc N. MeClade 
Haxea h'iend who could henefil lidiii some 
down time? Take "em lisliinii! 


32 Pliolo ri|)s • 33 Oti ihc Walei- • 34 Dining 111 

ABOUT THE COVliR: V-llou peich. Slorx on lia^c,'). I Bill Lindner l'li.)l(.i;ra|)li\ 

Executive Director 

The historical New River, with tales of Mary Draper Ingles in The 
Long Journey Home, shaped my family's existence for generations. 
The handmade wooden fishing boats built by my grandfather were ideally 
suited for plying its waters, and I still have old and faded newspaper clip- 
pings that recorded some of his best catches. I have also spent time on Clay- 
tor Lake, which separates its upper and lower reaches. My brother Mike 
and I waded for smallmouth and redeyes near our childhood home in Rad- 
ford and, along with our dad, fished for channel cats in the deep bend at 
Eggleston. At other times, we fished while wading or drifting the upper 
reaches close to our ancestral lands near Fries and Ivanhoe. These are spe- 
cial places in my heart and mind and, as featured on page 10, they are 
places to cherish for their healthy and productive conditions. 

Also covered in this issue is an update on a disease that is literally wip- 
ing out entire populations of native, cave-dwelling bats: White-Nose Syn- 
drome (WNS). The proliferation of this fungus has proven very difficult to 
understand. Our Department is performing due diligence to lower the risk 
of spreading WNS by monitoring caves and bat populations, by educating 
the public, and by reaching out to cavers and other cave visitors who might 
unknowingly act as WNS 'carriers' when they spend time in the woods. 
We are participating in both regional and national forums about White- 
Nose Syndrome and cooperating with adjoining states by sharing informa- 

As has been the case in managing other wildlife diseases such as 
Chronic Wasting Disease in deer, sometimes we appear to have the upper 
hand, while at other times serendipity trumps our best efforts. No one 
knows why WNS has traveled in an arc from New England to the Vir- 
ginias, but has not been found in Kentucky caves. Perhaps a micro-climate 
has prevented its spread there. We have yet to fully understand the pathol- 
ogy of WT^S or the impacts of its presence throughout Virginia's moun- 
tains, and what that portends for the ftiture. 

One thing we do know, as author Cristina Santiestevan points out: 
we will miss our bats! The collective impact from the loss of bats — both as 
predator and prey species — upon the larger food web, upon farmers who 
will lose their insect-controlling services, and upon the broader econo- 
my — food prices, for example — is sobering to consider. We can, and 
should, heed the directives given by scientists studying the disease. We can 
support their research and hope for the understanding to turn the situation 

The seriousness ofWhite-Nose Syndrome calls to mind just how im- 
portant healthy ecosystems are to the wildlife therein, and how inextricably 
linked those ecosystems are to human health and economic prosperity. 
Staying on top of these wildlife diseases is not a matter of choice, nor 
should it be. It will take sustained effort and focus, as well as the application 
of dollars and manpower to keep pace. We simply cannot afford not to. 

Where we enjoy healthy resources — in waterways like the New River 
that support strong fisheries, for example — we should celebrate the con- 
servation measures that sustain them. I'm sure that granddad would agree. 

MISSION stati:mi:nt 

To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish lo maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth; To 
provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlite, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the rights 
of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia; To promote safety for persons and property in 
connection with boating, hunting and fishing; To provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of and appre- 
ciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities. 

Dedicated to the Conservation of Virginias Wildlife and Natural Resources 

V QUI Ml: 72 


Bob McDonnell, Governor 

liUN'TlNG & FISl-llNCi 

Subsidized this publication 

Douglas W. Oomenech 



Bob Duncan 
Executive Director 


Ward Burton, Halifax 

Lisa Caruso, Church Road 

Brent Clarke, Fairfax 

Cunis D. Colgate, Virginia Beach ,c 

James W. HazeL Oakton g 

Randy J. Kozuch, Alexandria ^ 

John W. Montgomery, Jr., Sandston o. 

Mary Louisa Pollard, Irvingion g 

F. Scott Reed, Jr., Manakin-Sabot c 

Leon Turner, Fincastle = 


Charles S. Yates, Cleveland @ 


Sally Mills, Editor 

Lee Walker, Ron Messina, Julia Dixon, 

Contributing Editors 
Emily Pels, Art Director 
Carol Kushlak, Production Manager 
Tom Guess, David Kocka, Nelson Lafon, 

Staff Contributors 

Printing by Progress Printing, Lynchburg, VA. 

Virginia Wildlife (ISSN 0042 6792) is published monthly 
by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. 
Send all subscription orders and address changes to Virginia 
Wildlife, R O. Box 7477, Red Oak, Iowa 51591-0477. Ad- 
dress all other communications concerning this publication 
to Virginia NX'ildlifc, P. O. Box 1 1 104, 4010 West Broad 
Street, Richmond. Virginia 23230-1 104. Subscription rates 
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dress changes to Virginia Wildlife, PO. Box 7477, Red Oak, 
Iowa 51591-0477. Postage for periodicals paid at Rich- 
mond, Virginia and additional entry offices. 

Copyright 201 1 by the Virginia Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries. All rights reserved. 

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries shall atfoidr' 
to all persons an equal access to Department programs andM 
facilities without regard to race, color, religion, national ori-| 
gin, disabilit)', sex, or age. If you believe that you have bcenji 
discriminated .igainst in any program, activity or facilityj 
please write to; Virginia Department ol Game and InlantT 
Fisheries, ATTN; Compliance Officer, (4010 West Broai 
Street.) P O. Box 1 1 104, Richmond, Virginia 23230-1 104J 

This publication is intended for general informational pur-l 
poses only and every eflort has been made to ensure its i 
curacy. Ilie information contained herein does not serves 
a legal representation offish and wildlife laws or regulations| 
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries doe! 
not assume responsibility for any change in dates, regulaJ 
tions, or infotmation that may occur after publication. 




»fc4 "■Iff'- 


against the tide of some 

mighty challengeSy 

the yellow perch still 

charms Virginia anglers, 


erca, from the early Greek for perch, 
undfLivescens, from the Latin for be- 
coming gold colored: No single 
species offish tells the story of Virginia's fresh- 
water environmental challenges better than 
the story of the yellow perch. The yellow 
perch has countless locd names all over North 
America and Canada: American perch, ban- 
dit fish, calico bass, convict, coontail, Eisen- 
hower, yellow ned, jack perch, raccoon perch. 





Left, against the backdrop of vast marshland in the Chickahominy River, perch aficionado Bill Buck looks pleased 
with his latest catch. Above, a combination jig with a live worm works well to draw them in. 

©Bill Lindner Photography 

redfin trout, river perch, among others. In 
many Virginia locales like the Chickahominy 
River, the fish is commonly called simply a 
ring perch. In 2009, Virginia anglers caught 
59 1 citation yellow neds ( 1 2 inches in length 
or more, or weighing 1 lb. 4 oz. or more), 
ranking it as an extremely popular sport fish, 
despite its competition with perennial super- 
stars like largemouth bass and trout. 

Ring perch are a vividly colored fish, 
with compact, oval-shaped bodies ideally 
suited for the cool, clear waters in which they 
school and feed. In Virginia waters they com- 
monly have deep green backs ranging into 
golden brown along the sides, which is inter- 
rupted by seven dramatic, tapered vertical 
bars, or rings. Along the belly, they are white 
with bright orange anal fins, particularly col- 
orfiil on males. Photographs and illustrations 

do not always serve the ring perch justice; its 
colors are striking, lush, and tropical — partic- 
ularly in breeding males. 

The ring perch is slightly humped be- 
hind the head compared to other bass, with 
two separated dorsal fins; the first, spiny- 
rayed, and the second, soft-rayed. The anal fin 
has seven to eight rays. The ring perch also has 
additional scales extending from the gill flap 
that differentiate it from some of its bass 
cousins. Its appearance is streamlined, and 
fishermen value the yellow perch's relative 
strength compared to other fishes its size. 

Virginia's Yellow Perch 

Adult ring perch in Virginia commonly range 
between 6 and 12 inches in length. The De- 
partment's (DGIF) citation program recog- 
nizes any fish 1 2 inches or longer as a citation 

fish, but many old-timers remember when 2- 
and 3-pound ring perch ranging to 16 inches 
in length were commonplace. Fish this size 
still roam in the Great Lakes. In Cleveland the 
ring perch is synonymous with a "fish sand- 
wich. " The current Virginia state record was 
caught in one of the premier state ring perch 
fisheries: a 2 lb. 7 oz. monster netted in Lake 
Moomaw in 1999 by Tim Austin. Lake 
Moomaw saw 52 citation ringers reported in 
2009; only the Pamunkey River had more. 
The world record is 4 lbs. 3 oz., caught in 
Cross Wicks Creek, New Jersey in 1865. For 
the moment at least, that record does not 
seem to be in any danger. 

Ring perch seemed almost to disappear 
in some Virginia waters between the 1950s, 
when there were several newsworthy fish kills 
in bay rivers, and the 1960s and '70s, when 

MAY 2011 ♦ 

pollution and toxins reached peak levels. Not 
suqjrisingly, other sportfish populations like 
largemouth bass also declined precipitously 
during this period. During the 1990s, howev- 
er, the ring perch made a comeback in many 
waters like the Chickahominy River and other 
watersheds of the Chesapeake Bay, but 
nowhere has the ring perch returned in the 
numbers or sizes relative to the first half of the 
previous century, when it supported a thriving 
commercial fishery in tidal rivers all around 
the bay from Maryland south to almost North 

Tips For Successful Pursuit 

Yellow perch tavor water temperatures around 
68 degrees, give or take five degrees. "1 read in 
the In Fishermen that the temperature is the 
key," Bill Buck, a yellow perch angler explains. 
"Anything above 70 degrees and you can for- 
get it. They'll be in the deeper water." In the 
late winter, cooler temperatures are necessary 
to trigger the mass spawn. 

Like most other fish, ring perch inhabit 
discrete parts of a river or lake during different 
seasons of the year. They am be caught in shal- 
lows at the mouths of creeks in late spring 
evenings, but generally inhabit deeper waters 
near thermo clines in the summer. In the 
spring, they are ofi:en attracted to structure 
along steep drop-offs and guts (small tidal fin- 
gers of water that rise and fall in connection to 
creeks and the river). In the late summer, ring 
perch follow vegetation and lily pads that bor- 
der steep drops. Conventional wisdom main- 
tains that larger ring perch prefer deeper 
water, which in rivers might mean 10 to 15 
feet or more, and even deeper in large lakes. 
The drop-off^s near guts typically range up to 8 
to 10 feet in depth. 

"If you aren't catching anything and it's a 
spot you know holds fish, you need to fish 
even deeper. Make sure you're getting to the 
bottom," one angler says. 

The ring perch is carnivorous, and there- 
fore an active fish in pursuit of food. In rivers, 
they tend to be most active in the morning 
and again in the afternoon; in lakes, in the 
early morning and prior to dusk. Though they 
may be dormant for periods of time, they are 
also opportunists that may seize the moment 
when presented with a tempting meal. 

Fishing for them involves a variety of 
techniques. In lakes, guide Neil Renout rec- 

ommends jigs as the top artificial bait. "Verti- 
c;d jigging blade baits put quality fish in the 
boat day after day." 

Likewise, jigs are popular along the river. 
Bill Buck also insists that they must be 
"tipped " with live bait, like wax worms or meal 
worms. "It makes all of the difference as far as 
I'm concerned, " he says. 

Yellow perch are primarily site feeders, so 
presentation is a key. Loners come into the 
boat while fishing for other species, but to lock 
into a school requires getting the lure and/or 
bait to where the yellow perch are, and this 
often means fishing deeper, sometimes right 
on the bottom. This also means that rigs with 
spinners or bright blades enhance the angler's 
odds of success. Many crappie jigs work well 
for yellow perch when delivered to the right 

Some anglers insist that marking schools 
with a fish finder is important. "They will 
mark as short thin lines, generally no more 
than half a foot from the bottom." 

A variety of live baits work well for yellow 
neds, especially since their natural diet consists 
of small bait fish, crawfish and other crus- 
taceans, as well as larva and other serendipitous 
possibilities (they are caught on worms when 
fishing for bluegill, for example). In general, 
anglers enhance their odds by rigging their bait 
with crappie jigs or spinner combos to deliver 
the bait properly and attract immediate atten- 
tion. Yellow perch are generally known as 
"good biters, " with the challenge often being 
to locate them at optimum feeding times. 

Yellow perch have a good flavor for the 
frying pan and can be prepared in the kitchen 
in a variety of ways. The meat is white, fl;iky, 
;ind delicate. Though there are consimiption 
warnings and restrictions on certain waters, 
due to pollution, yellow neds must be consid- 
ered one of the better eating sport fishes of Vir- 
ginia — along with trout, panfish like bluegill, 
and rockfish. 

Still, yellow neds remain relatively less 
known than other species. A growing number 
of Virginia anglers are discovering the pleas- 
ures of chasing yellow neds, and perhaps in the 
coming years there will be a new state record as 
a result! ?f 



JackTrammell teaches sociology at Randolph-Macon 
College. He recently published the hook, Down on 
ihe C.hichahominy: the Life and Vimei of a Vanishing 
Virginia River. 



ai. ^ 

Clearing af 

Efforts continue 

to designate a 

Virginia section 


as scenic. 

byTim Thornton 

When Thomas Batts and Robert Fal- 
1am followed the New River in 1 67 1 , 
they thought it was a route to the Pa- 
cific Ocean. They were sure they saw the tide 
coming in near Pearisburg. 

"We set up a stick by the water side," their 
journal says, "but found it ebbed very slowly." 

When Lynn Crump set out on the New 
River last July, she wasn't as misguided as those 
Englishmen, but she was entering unexplored 
territory of a sort. Since the 1970s, Virginias 
Scenic Rivers Program has recognized water- 
ways across the commonwealth for their beau- 
ty, their history, and their recreationiil value. 
About 700 miles of Virginia rivers are in the 
program. Only the York and the New have no 
section of river, stream, or tributary on the list. 

To mark the programs 40th anniversary, 
its 1 5-member citizen advisory board decided 
to do something about that. So Crump, an en- 
vironmental programs planner for the De- 
partment of Conservation and Recreation, 
joined the National Committee for the New 
Rivers annual river expedition. The commit- 
tee paddled from Boone, North Carolina, to 
Gauley Bridge, West Virginia. And Crump 
paddled Virginias section, weighing what she 
saw against the programs 1 3 criteria. 

"Pretty much all that we studied quali- 
fies," she reports. 

Ltndowncrs are often suspicious of gov- 
ernment designations of their property or 

Path for a Scenic River 

anything near it. But the Scenic Rivers Pro- 
gram's small list of restrictions affects govern- 
ment much more than property owners. If a 
company wants to put a pipeline or a power 
line across a scenic river, state agencies have 
to consider the effect that will have on the 
river before issuing permits. And no scenic 
river can be damned without the approval of 
the General Assembly. 

"Our program does not make any 
change in how a landowner manages or de- 
velops their property," Crump says. "It's not 
the state coming in, telling people what to 
do. It's a local effort saying we want the state 
to recognize what we have here and we want 
to recognize it ourselves." 

Communities have different reasons 
for wanting a scenic river. Some use the des- 
ignation to promote tourism. Some use it to 
promote their community's quality of life 
when they're trying to attract new business 
and when existing businesses are trying to at- 
tract new employees. Landowners along a 
scenic river can get extra points when they 
apply for conservation easements and some 

The New River Today 

The New River has been following pretty 
much the same course since before the Ap- 
palachian Mountains existed. The South 
Fork starts in the mountains above Boone, 
N.C., and the North Fork starts to the west 
of there, on Snake Mountain. The streams 
wriggle and grow their way north, then join 
fewer than five river miles from the Virginia 
state line. Virginia holds roughly 160 miles 
of the New River, about twice as much as 
West Virginia. But 26 miles of North Car- 
olina's section of the New are a state scenic 
river and a national "Wild and Scenic" river; 
53 miles of West Virginia's section are a na- 
tional river and part of the national parks 
system. None of Virginia's section of the 
New has any similar designation. 

A paradise for recreational pursuits, the upper New/ River draws visitors from across Virginia 
and beyond. 

MAY 2011 ♦ 11 

The town of Fries hopes to benefit from increased tourism, which would accompany Scenic River designation. The presence of sensitive 
species in the New River, such as the hellbender below, indicates good water quality and a healthy riven 

In 2007, a U.S. senator from North Car- 
olina tried to add 2 1 miles of the New that 
snake back and forth between North Carolina 
and Virginia to the Wild and Scenic list, but ac- 
cording to personal accounts, Virginia legisla- 
tors somewhat resented a North Carolinians 
encroachment on Virginia's river and the legis- 
lation died. 

Another Virginia section of the New has 
been under consideration for national Wild and 
Scenic status since 1992. In 2009, the National 
Park Service released a study that said the six- 
mile section, plus about 13 miles ol river in 
West Virginia, qualifies for the Wild and Scenic 
designation. But the Park Service recommend- 
ed against it. There's not enough local support, 
according to the report. So the Giles County 
Board of Supervisors, die county's representa- 
tives in the General Assembly, then-Congress- 
man Rick Boucher's staff, and local citizens' 
groups all said they were for it. Nothing hap- 

The New is famous as a bass fishery. But 
the section that runs from the Giles County 
town of Glen Lyn to West Virginia also has 
walleye and excellent habitat for hellbenders, 
the largest salamander in North America. The 
nocturnal predators grow about an inch a year 
in the wild, biologists say, and they can live 
more than 30 years. Eagles and osprey are com- 


mon on this section of the waterway, and it 
holds what Jije New River AtLu calls "the best 
bateau sluices on the New River. " The cuts 
made for cargo-hauling bateau are ftm runs 
for kayaks and canoes, but there's nearly al- 
ways a quieter way around for boaters who'd 
rather not rattle their fishing gear around. 

The old pig path of a road that runs river 
left has been upgraded into a fine dirt road 
that allows relatively easy access. The Army 
Corps of Engineers controls the land in Vir- 
ginia. Tlie West Virginia Department of 

Natural Resources manages the land past 
State Line Falls. From Glen Lyn to West Vir- 
ginia, the only hint of development visible 
from the river is an occasional cornfield. 

Noah Adams, whose bestselling book, 
Far Appalachia, followed the New River from 
Snake Mountain to Gauley Bridge, called it 
one of the most pristine sections of the river. 
"You see West Virginia up there on the hori- 
zon," he says, "and there's nothing around you 
and that's just exactly what your ancestors 
would have seen." 



Upper New River Watershed, DGIF-GIS Lab, courtesy of Lenee Pennington 

New River Trail State Park, Wythe County 

Pressing Forward 

George Santucci, executive director of the Na- 
tional Committee for the New River, calls it 
"one of the most spectacular sections of the 
river that's not already a national park or state 

Fishing guide Britt Stoudenmire, who 
took a Park Service contingent through that 
section during their study, remarks, "This sec- 
tion of river is so untouched, so remote. It's 
just an incredible area that needs to stay like 
this for the next couple of million years." 

John Copeland, whose work with the 
Department takes him all over Virginia's part 
of the New, refers to it as, "one of the most sce- 
nic areas of that entire section." It's particularly 
pretty in the fall, he notes. 

But it's not first in line to become one of 
Virginia's Scenic Rivers. 

"There's a lot of people interested in Giles 
County, but there's also lots of controversy in 
Giles County," says Crump. 

Some people in Giles County are suspi- 
cious of a state program. Others think it might 
affect an Appalachian Power project that's put 
about 250,000 cubic yards of coal ash in the 
floodplain upriver "So we thought we'd start 
at the other end of the state," Crump explains, 
"where the controversy is not so emphatic." 

That means Grayson County, home to 
two of the New's biggest controversies. In the 
1960s, Appalachian Power Company 
planned to build a pair of dams that would 
have flooded more than 40,000 acres. Vir- 
ginia's Department of Corrections planned to 
build a prison at nearly the same spot in 2006. 
Both plans were defeated by citizen uprisings. 
Mary Lily Nuckolls, who sits on the Scenic 
Rivers board, calls the designation "a hedge 
against threats for the future." If some other 
development comes along that residents don't 
want, she says, "You've got a whole committee 
and the ear of the governor to fight for you. " 

Nuckolls, who lives on the riverbank 
with her husband, Jim, worries about getting 
support from people who see the river only 
when they're crossing it on a bridge. "I'm sure 
we're going to have to do some education," 
she admits. 

Fries Mayor Gary Sumner doesn't need 
educating. "Oh good golly," Sumner bristles, 
"The trail and the river are the only chance we 
have to have a livelihood." 

The town of Fries was named for the 
man who owned the cotton mill that opened 
there in 1903. When the mill closed in the 
1 980s, the town's reason for being was gone. 

"Our economic situation has changed 
drastically," says former Mayor Marie Isom. 

"We're kind of like the rest of the country. We 
have to look for different ways instead of the 
big industry. We're having to rely on other 
things. If people from Fries don't start think- 
ing out of the box, other than the old tried- 
and-true ways, we're going to go under. That's 
all there is to it." 

Fries has turned to the Crooked Road, 
an eflFort which celebrates the area's musical 
heritage, the New River Trail, and the river it- 
self to generate a living. The town is building 
a birding trail, too. Old mill houses and dor- 
mitories have become rental cabins and 
B&Bs. Isom and Sumner think a scenic river 
will make their little town even more attrac- 

"It's just another piece of the tourism 
puzzle that will draw people to our town," 
Isom believes. 

If Nuckolls and Sumner and Isom con- 
vince the Grayson County Board of Supervi- 
sors that having a scenic river is a good thing, 
the designation could come as soon ;is next 
year's General Assembly session. ?f 

Tim Thornton is a Montgomery! County writer 
whose work has earned the Phillip D. Reed 
Memorial Award for outstanding writing on the 
southern environment and recognition from the 
Society of Environmental Journalists. 

MAY 2011 ♦ 13 

by Bruce Ingram 

When it comes to 

tiobitot wtiafs 

good for one is 

also good for 

the other 



unters don't always realize 
that what's good for game 
animals is often good for 
nongame species. And bird and other wildlife 
watchers may not realize that habitat im- 
provements beneficial to birds, butterflies, 
and wildflowers also benefit deer, turkeys, 
and ruffed grouse. Just imagine what will be 
accomplished when these user groups work 
together more closely. " 

It is a day tor weighty musings as Mike 
Donahue and I walk down a gated road deep 
in western Virginia's George Washington and 
Jerterson National Forest (CWJNF). Don- 
ahue, a biological technician for the U.S. For- 
est Service, speaks those words ancJ guides me 
on this mid-April day. It is breeding season tor 
the Appalachian grizzled skipper {Pyrgiis 
wyandot) — a butterfly that few wildlife 
watchers, and likely even fewer upland bird 
hunters, have probably ever heard of But 
what is good tor the skipper is good for Old 


VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.conn 




©)effrey Pippen 

"Skippers occur on habitat that is man- 
aged for ruffed grouse," continues Donohue, 
who lives in Roanoke. "This habitat is gener- 
ally open, semi-open, to shale woodlands (in 
soils above shale deposits). For several years, 
we've treated places within a grouse manage- 
ment area to benefit the skipper. Treatment 
has included cutting and removing the 
woody growah within the existing roads to 
selling older timber. By treating this small 
tree/shrub layer, it allows and encourages the 
skipper's host and nectar plants to expand. ' 

District wildlife biologist Al Bourgeois, 

with the Department (DGIF), says that this 
particular area of the national forest is not 
naturally prime grouse habitat, as these birds 
prefer moister areas instead of the dry shale 
soil we are traversing. Nevertheless, grouse do 
live here because of the management activities 
that have been conducted. 

Early successiouiil habitat is in increas- 
ingly short supply on the GWJNF, as preser- 
vationist groups that lobby against tiny timber 
cutting on public land protest or threaten to 
litigate whenever logging is proposed. The 
irony is that such groups proclaim to love 

wildlife and want to protect habitat diversity. 
Yet their protests can harm species like the 
skipper, the grouse, and numerous species of 
songbirds, as well as hinder habitat diversity. 

"The grizzled skipper is one of the earli- 
est butterflies to take flight, " explains Mike as 
we continue walking. "They emerge from the 
leaf litter in mid-April and immediately start 
looking for a mate. After mating, females lay 
eggs on Canada cinquefoil, which thrive in 
fields and open woods. If there's no early suc- 
cessional habitat, theres no cinquefoil and 
thus no skippers. Skippers are only active for a 

MAY 2011 ♦ 15 

The Skiooer Familv 

Some 250 species of skipper dwell in 
North America and are known fortheir 
rapid "skipping" flight. As a group, they 
feature proportionally larger bodies and 
smaller wings than other butterflies. On 
average, they are also smaller than true 
butterflies and people often confuse 
skippers with moths. Skipper caterpillars 
weave silk and leaf shelters and the 
chrysalises typically are covered with 
powder, a substance that has come off 
on a young explorer's hands on more 
than a few occasions. 

A hunter and his bird dog rejoice in 
a successful hunt. Like the grizzled 
skipper (below) grouse need early 
successional habitat. 

few weeks, then die after they mate — so tim- 
ing is crucial." 

Canada cinquetoil (PotentilLi canaden- 
sis) is a low-growing, five-leaved native plant 
that spreads by vining stems. Its half-inch 
yellow flower blooms in spring. Perhaps its 
color or smell draws the grizzled skipper. The 
female skipper lays her eggs on a leaf and 
folds it back as a protective mechanism. 
Later, the caterpillars feed on the green 
leaves. The pupa stage is spent in the leaf lit- 
ter near the cinquefoil. 

Wlien skippers emerge in April, they 
are barely more than an inch long with gray- 
ish black wings with white markings on the 

upper wings. The skipper name comes from 
the creamres tendency to make short "skip- 
ping" flights from plant to plant. 

In the Old Dominions Appalachian 
Mountains, the grizzled skipper ofi:en inhab- 
its shale barrens and other open areas and, in- 
terestingly, like the grouse, prefers those open 
areas to be within close proximity to oak or 
pine forests. Sadly, the gypsy moth's presence 
— ;ind control treatment in the form of insec- 
ticide spraying — has eliminated the skipper 
fi"om many areas. 

As we walk along the logging road, Don- 
ahue points out that grizzled skippers, like 
grouse and Canada cinquefoil, can't live in old 
growth or mature forests. The same is true 
with songbirds such as the prairie warbler, yel- 
low-breasted chat, and golden-winged war- 

On our Sunday ramble, the air tempera- 
ture hovers in the upper 30s, a cold front has 
hit the area, the wind is gusting, and Dono- 
hue worries that the poor conditions are not 
favorable for spotting skippers. At the start of 
our jaunt, we hear tufted titmice, pine war- 
blers, ovenbirds, and ravens, but the blustery 
conditions are not very conducive to the birds 
singing or to our hearing them. I observe 
some turkey scratching and droppings and 
decide to utter a few hen yelps, but the wind 
drowns out any response even if there was 

Then we come to an important skipper 
plant, and Donohue is encouraged. 

"There's birds-foot violet. Skippers love 
to nectar on them!" he exclaims. 

I have never heard of the word nectar 
employed as a verb, but the usage seems ap- 
propriate. Viola pedata features blue-violet 
flowers with five petals, six-inch stems, and 
leaves, appropriately enough, shaped like 
birds' feet. 

Donahue then spots a small butterfly 
flitting up ahead and we both run toward it, 
hoping that it's a grizzled skipper. 

"It's a wild indigo duskywing," notes the 
technician. "It's a member of the skipper fam- 
ily, just not the one we are looking for. This 
habitat is good for duskywings (Erjmnis bap- 
tisiae) too." 

Right, the Canada cinquefoil (Potentilla 
canadensis) is an important host plant 
for the grizzled skipper and found in 
open areas attractive to grouse. 

Cyjeffrey Pippen 

The air temperature warms a few de- 
grees; bluejays, goldfinches, and towhees 
begin to sing; and Donohue hopes that the 
grizzled skippers will likewise become active. 

"They're really thermal regulated," he ex- 
plains. "If it's too cold for the plants they nec- 
tar on to have their flowers open, then the 
skippers won't fly. " 

We next arrive at one of the most beauti- 
fij plants I have ever seen — dwarf crested iris, 
Iris cristata. The plant features the standard 
iris leaves, only miniaturized, and gorgeous 
violet blue flowers with three sepals. 

"Here's an interesting question,' pon- 
ders my guide. "Do grizzled skippers nectar 
on dwarf crested iris? Biologists still don't 
know all the food sources of skippers, and 
maybe, or maybe not, this is one of them. ' 

Our next stop is at a known skipper host 
plant, Canada cinquefoil. Suddenly, Dono- 
hue and I track a winged insect in characteris- 

tic skipper-like flight, and I dash off^ after it, 
camera at the ready. The warmer air has made 
the butterflies quicker and more active, and I 
can't catch up to the creature. 

"That's the problem with photograph- 
ing skippers, " Donohue laughs. "If it's too 
cold, they won't fly. II it's warmer, they skip 
about too fast. That looked like a duskywing 

More birds are singing now, as Carolina 
chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, worm- 
eating warblers, and blue-gray gnatcatchers 
join the chorus. The dogwoods and trailing 
arbutus are in bloom, and a Cooper's hawk 
soars overhead. We encounter spicebush 
swallowtails, sulphur butterflies, and a grove 
of bear oaks (a low-growing member of the 
red oak family) with their fingernail-sized 
acorns still on the ground. 

"No wonder grouse like habitat like 
this, " marvels Donohue. "A grouse could 

have a fine time here with all these bear oak 
acorns and the thick vegetation." 

Our day is over with no confirmed sight- 
ings of the grizzled skipper. However, we have 
observed a host of native animals and plants 
in what some might consider just ugly, early 
successional growth. But to grouse, grizzled 
skippers, and other flora and fauna, this is 
most definitely home. ?f 

Bruce Ingram is the author ofseveralfish'mg and 
river guides. For more information, contact him at 


Audubon Society Field Guide to North 
American Butterflies, Audubon Society 
Field Guide to Trees: Eastern Region, 
products/, (800) 733-3000. 

1 W" -*► 


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story and photos 
by Beth Hester 


^^^ orty or so minutes west of interior Pair- 
H fax C'oiinty, and Fni in the parking lot 
Hi of the Little River Inn in Aldie, post- 
breakfast, scraping ice from my side-view mir- 
rors with the edge of a credit card. A lovely 
early November frost catches me pleasantly off- 
guard. Willi windows clear, my 5-wcight travel 
rod snug in its compact tube, and a new pair of 
sale-price waders neatly packed in the back of 
my truck, 1 head east to meet Kiki Cialvin of 

Ms. Guided Fly Fishing Services. Her amus- 
ing motto is: "Don't be misled when you can 
be Ms. Guidedr Kiki s an experienced North- 
ern Virginia-based fly-fishing guide, and we 
were scheduled for a full day fly-fishing tour 
of Washington D.C. Beltway trout, and the 
delayed-harvest waters of Accotink and 
Holmes Run. 

Accotink Creek and Holmes Rim arc 
designated delayed harvest streams. Ihe Dc- 
partment (DCilF) stocks them with brown 
and rainbow trout lor recreational anglers. 
Ihis stocking is necessary because these 
streams no longer support native trout popu- 


lations. Once upon a time, many streams in 
Virginia supported wild brook trout, but habi- 
tat degradation has eliminated many native 

Highly-developed, heavily populated 
urban landscapes of concrete, asphalt, and 
other impervious surfaces have replaced green 
fields and forested areas. The result? Increased 
stream bank erosion and non-point source pol- 
lution, brought about by elevated stormwater 
rtmoff. High runoff volumes increase sedi- 
ment How into local waterways. When com- 
binetl with elevated stream temperatures from 
shade tree canopy loss and heat-retaining 

w^ ^ 


/ 2^ V 


are within earshot of the 495 Beltway and the 
high-octane communities that ring 'round our 
nation's capital; yet, certain sections of both wa- 
terways are startlingly scenic, giving first-time 
anglers an odd sensory jolt. Fishing and explor- 
ing remoter areas of Accotink and Holmes Run 
are unusual, time-out-of-time experiences. 

Kiki is an ideal guide, passionate and 
knowledgeable. She's a tailgate evangelist of 
sorts for fly fishing, and a staunch advocate for 
trout. Her pickup truck is stufi^ed with fishing 
gear, spare clothing, lunch, and angling-related 
education;J pamphlets. Her multi-layered net- 
work ot friends stems from her myriad volun- 
teer efforts with organizations like the 
Northern Virginia Chapter of Trout Unlimit- 
ed, Casting for Recovery, and Project Healing 
Waters. Her TU chapter has also partnered 
with DGIF during stocking and clean-up ini- 
tiatives. She reaches out to new anglers and 
mentors budding fly tiers. Once a month, she 
hosts the "Tie-One-On" fly tying gathering, 
where a group of women select a particular pat- 
tern and learn to tie it for upcoming fishing ad- 

On this particular Saturday we fished each 
stream in turn. As Kiki helped me refine the 
mechanics of my over-powered saltwater ac- 
customed casts, she talked about the impor- 
tance of urban angling opportunities, local 
conservation efforts, and the value of these 
semi-wild places. 

Accotink Creek 

On Pine Ridge and Accotink, we park near a 
stretch of suburban houses. In the low morning 
light, irregular patches of remaining fall foli^e 

ofler brilliant contrast. As we line our rods, 
Kiki gives me a mini lesson in delayed harvest 

"The streams we're fishing today are free- 
stone, rhey meander through communities, 
and there are varying degrees of easy public ac- 
cess along their length. Access at other points 
sometimes means cautious scrambling down 
steep embankments. The Fairfax County Park 
Authority and DGIF have constructed infor- 
mation kiosks here and at Holmes Run to edu- 
cate anglers about delayed harvest regulations. 

In the spring and fall, these waters are 
stocked with rainbows and browns. From Oc- 
tober T' through May 31'"', fish must be re- 
turned to the water safely... but for the 
remainder of the calendar, general trout regula- 
tions apply and trout may be creeled. Anglers 
must use artificial lures, and single hooks." 

As we traversed Accotink Creek, casting 
black and olive woolies to cover, it became ob- 
vious that all things being equal, this was a bet- 
ter place for angling than I'd anticipated. 
Intricate networks of tree roots, scattered boul- 
ders, pools, and little riffles provide good qual- 
ity areas in which trout hide and feed. This is 
not to say that the tea-colored waters aren't 
home to the usual signs of city encroachment, 
and abuse, and there are intermittently scat- 
tered bottles, plastic bags, and rags of undeter- 
mined origin in evidence. This isn't Yeats' 
idyllic hazelwood. 

But it's also obvious that there are cadres 
of caring individuals and organizations who've 
adopted these areas, and they go to great 
lengths to keep them as clean as possible. Kiki 

Above, Kiki drifts a streamer through a 
deep pool. Right, another Accotink brown 
trout falls for KIki's "It's a Girl" streamer. 

urban environs, the natural trout lifestyle is in- 
hibited. Trout are coldwater species. Metro- 
politan streams and creeks are under intense 
pressure, especially during the hot summer 

Specifically, Accotink and Holmes Run 
are hard-fished, sensitive zones within multi- 
use urban areas. The waters flow past adjacent 
parks, housing developments, and apartment 
buildings — often with barely any transition 
other than a steeply graded, rock-strewn bank, 
or in the case of Holmes Run, a gorge-like 
wall. Intrepid anglers share space with joggers, 
trail bikers, and power walkers. Both streams 

MAY 2011 ♦ 19 

This Wooly Bugger imitation won Kiki 
first place in a 'one-fly' contest. The 
colors resemble a minnow's sheen 
and the marabou undulates, adding 
realistic swimming action. It's like a 
cheeseburgerfortrout and bass. 

Presented like a streamer and 
retrieved with varying stripping 
speeds, it's perfect for fishing pools, 
or in and around deadfall and under- 
cut banks. 

Hook -4X #10 Streamer 


Thread -Black 6/0 

Body- Fluorescent pink chenille, 

or pink ice chenille 

Weight -Optional 1/8 faceted 

tungsten bead 

Tail - White or black marabou 


Kiki Galvin: Ms. Guided Fly Fishing- .^Jk 

Northern Virginia Trout Unlimited - 

Friends of Accotink- 

Casting for Recovery - 

"Our TU chapter, along with other re- 
gional organizations have really adopted 
these streams and creeks as our own, and we 
participate in initiatives to keep these and 
other waters cleaner, healthier, and more fish- 
able for everyone. Education is a key compo- 
nent oi our efforts. For example, the Trout in 
the Classroom program is fabulous; it draws 
in the younger generation. Kids discover the 
value of trout and the environments in which 
they live through hands-on activities. 

"They raise trout from eggs, care for them 
as they develop into fingerlings, and ultimate- 
ly release them into coldwater habitat. Since 
trout are an indicator species, young people 
begin to understand the relationship between 
the survival of trout and the clean water re- 
quired for them to survive. When people 
young and old experience these semi-wild 
places for themselves first-hand, it fosters a 
conservation ethic that persists in their lives, 
whether they end up being anglers or simply 
citizens who enjoy 'urban nature' in other 

Kiki stops to crimp a small weight to the 
tippet a few inches above her black streamer, 
and casts again into a pool. A tew short strips 
later, she brings to net a pretty, glistening 
brown trout. I'm able to snap a quick photo 
before she releases it, and we watch it swim 
away. Later, as we stow our gear, prepping for 
our next destination, a himily embarking on a 
late-morning walk and curious about our 
fishing success stops by to chat. Naturally, 
Kiki can't resist the opportunity to share an- 
gling joy, so I show the children a photo of the 
brown trout, and Kiki tells them about the 
fish who live in Accotink Creek. Judging by 
their response, I can guess that before too 
long, they'll be asking their parents for a 
starter fly rig of their own. 

Holmes Run 

In the parking lot at the entrance to Holmes 
Run, we enjoy a tailgate lunch of roast beef 
sandwiches topped with horseradish mayo. 
Here, too, late-autumn foliage of yellow and 
rusty orange adds vibrancy to the paved path- 
way that runs parallel to the stream. Seeing 
our waders and rods, passersby ask us about 
fishing conditions, relating their love of and 
perspectives on this stretch of water. One gen- 
tleman angler shares water temperature infor- 
mation with Kiki, and another recreational 
u.ser who lives in the bordering apartment 
building says he'd be spiritually impoverished 

without the opportunity to escape the daily 
grind by walking regularly in this unexpected- 
ly picturesque area. 

After lunch, we spend several hours wad- 
ing and casting, navigating the leaf-slick banks 
and ankle-turning rocks which are always par 
for the course. Note: Hip waders will do here, 
but the waters of Holmes Run are deeper than 
one might expect, and chest waders are a bet- 
ter option if one is intent on staying dry. As we 
move along the water, Kiki relates that, 
though the majority of users are respectful, 
both Accotink and Holmes Run are trans- 
gressed by poachers from time to time after a 
trout stocking, and the occasional angler is 
caught using live bait. At one juncture, she 
points out a pile of tires and yellow bags of 
garbage awaiting pick-up, collected by volun- 
teers from a Potomac Watershed clean-up or- 
ganization. Here too, Kiki proudly points out, 
volunteerism is alive and well. 

As we hike our way back to the truck, 
Kiki waves toward a familiar figure wading 
mid-stream. It was a friend she'd made during 
her work with a Casting for Recovery group. 
This angler, hooked on fishing, had driven all 
the way up from the Middle Peninsula to try 
her luck, proving that these urban fisheries 
serve as important destinations for non-local 
anglers who can't spare the time to travel far- 
ther west. 

At the end of the day, Accotink and 
Holmes Run are unquestionably fishable 
streams that will continue to be under pres- 
sure for the foreseeable fiiture. They will also 
continue to be tended by those who appreci- 
ate just how necessary they are to the health of 
the surrounding commiuiities. These waters 
are like many semi-natural spaces embedded 
within urban environments: indispensable 
and imperfect. Author and angler Beau 
Beasley just about sums it up when he writes: 

"I believe the delayed harvest areas across 
the state are critical, especially those in urban 
areas. Anglers are always seeking new areas to 
fish, but with free time always at a premium, 
having nearby fishable waters is important. . . 
these waters are classic examples of doing the 
best you can with what you have. " 

TTiey are also classic examples of what 
can be achieved when people who care band 
together to maintain a beloved resource, i*^ 

Bcti Hester is a writer and freelance photographer from 
Portsmouth. Her passions include reading, shooting, 
kayaking, fishing, tying saltwater Jlies, and tending her 
herb garden. 











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13 8Y 



Leaves a Trail of Deva 

Now confirmed in 

13 counties. 

the disease tias 

biologists bracing 

for ttie worst. 

Little brown bats with white-nose syndrome, New York. Courtesy of Nancy 
Heaslip, New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC). 


by Cristino Santiestevan 

■ J ome compare it to the chestnut blight. 
W. Others have called it the Great Plague 
W W for bats, except the plague was less 
deadly. Whatever the comparison, nearly 
everyone agrees that White-Nose Syndrome 
is one of the worst things to infect North 
American wildlife in decades. Perhaps more 
than a century. 

So far, White-Nose Syndrome appears 
to only affect bats, and only some species of 
bats. But, there's little comfort here. Infected 
bats — marked with fluffy white fimgus on 
their noses and bodies — die at an alarming 
rate. Research suggests extinctions may be 
just a few years away. Even the little brown 
bat, once one of our most common species, is 
being considered for the Federal Endangered 
Species List. 

Only two years have passed since White- 
Nose Syndrome (WNS) was first confirmed 
in Virginia. Since then, it has spread along the 
entire length of the states iconic Appalachian 

Left, likely WNS symptoms at Breathing Cave 
In Bath County, late February 2009. Courtesy 
of Wil Orndorff, Virginia Department of 
Conservation and Recreation, Division of 
Natural Heritage. 


8e Wild! Live Wild! 
Grow Wild! 

Mountains, and has 
expanded into neighbor 
ing West Virginia, North 
Carolina, and Tennessee. Over- 
all, the fungus has made its way into 
16 states and two Canadian 
provinces, and its rate of dispersal does 
not appear to be slowing. In total, biol 
ogists estimate that well over a million 
bats have been killed by WNS since 
2006, when it was first identified in New 
York State. 

"We're seeing declines basically every 
place we go, " says Rick Reynolds, a wildlife 
biologist with the Department (DGIF). 
Reynolds works with a team of biologists who 
survey bat caves on alternating years. Their 
findings this year point to a precipitous de- 
cline in Virginias bats. Fatality rates run from 
40 to more than 90 percent. One cave held 
more than 3,000 litde brown bats in 2009. 
When surveyors returned in 20 11, less than 
50 individuals remained — a roughly 98 per- 
cent decline in just two years. 

Little brown bat; close-up of nose with 
fungus. New York, Oct. 2008. Courtesy of 
Ryan von Linden, NYDEC. 

DGIF biologist Rick Reynolds exits a cave In Highland County. 

MAY 2011 ♦ 23 

"It's shocking," says Reynolds. "I don't re- 
ally want to believe or acknowledge that 
there's that kind of loss occurring out there. 
You just hope that some individuals will sur- 
vive this." 

Last year, WNS had been confirmed in 
only five Virginia counties: Bath, Bland, Giles, 
Rockingham, and Smyth. As of February 
20 11 , the fungus has spread to another eight 
counties — Chesterfield, Craig, Highland, 
Montgomery, Pulaski, Russel, Tazewell, and 
Wise. Statewide, however, the distribution of 
White-Nose Syndrome is probably much 
broader than these 1 3 counties. While biolo- 
gists are finding WNS-infected bats nearly 
everywhere they look, they are not looking 

"The mountains are where the caves are, 
so that's where we've concentrated our ef- 
forts," Reynolds explains. Biologists focus on 
caves because these are the places where large 
groups of bats congregate to hibernate during 
the winter months. This is when White-Nose 

Syndrome strikes. While the bats hibernate, 
the white fungus infects the skin of their faces, 
wings, and bodies. "It's growing on these bats 
because they're going into hibernation and 
dropping their body temperatures," says the 
biologist, who explains that the fungus will 
not grow above 70°F and that hibernating 
bats may drop their body temperatures below 

Biologists survey the caves every other 
winter, tracking changes in population and 
species composition and the spread ofWhite- 
Nose Syndrome. East of die Appalachians, 
where there are no caves, bats hibernate in 
small, scattered groups in hollow trees or 
buildings. Because the hibernation sites are 
less densely popiJated and more difficult to 
locate, biologists have not begun to survey the 
region. "It's hard to say whether or not White- 
Nose Syndrome might be in the Piedmont or 
the Coastal Plain," Reynolds admits, adding, 
"there's no reason to think it would be any dif- 

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Little brown bat with white-nose syndrome, 
New York. Courtesy of Al Hicks, NYDEC. 

The WNS-positive bat found in 
Chesterfield County — just south of Rich- 
mond — suggests that White-Nose Syn- 
drome has at least visited the counties east of 
the Appalachians. However, this lone bat was 
found in the summer, and biologists do not 
know whether it hibernated in Chesterfield 
County or in an Appalachiiin cave more than 
100 miles to the west. The distinction is im- 
portant. Biologists do not yet know whether 
the cold-adapted and moisture-loving fungus 
can survive outside humid, cool caves. If this 
bat hibernated in cave-free Chesterfield 
County, it would suggest the fungus is less 
constrained by humidity levels than previous- 
ly believed. 

The humidity tolerance of Geomyces de- 
stnictans — the fungus associated with White- 
Nose Syndrome — is just one of many 

You Can Help Track White-Nose Syndrome 

Know the symptoms 

• White fungus on the nose, face, body. 

• Dead or dying bats. 

White-Nose Syndrome takes hold of bats 

or wings; 

Report unusual bat behavior 

during the winter months of hibernation, 

• Difficulty flying, or apparent disorien- 

Please report all suspicious bat activity. 

and symptoms may linger into the spring 


including dead or dying bats, to DGIF: 

or early summer months. Be alert for the 

• Flying during the day especially during 

following symptoms: 

the winter and early spring months; 




unanswered questions about the devastat- 
ing condition. Another question — a big 
question — is exactly how WNS kills bats. 
The characteristic white fungus is not so dif- 
ferent from other skin Ringuses, such as ath- 
lete's foot or ringworm. It consumes dead 
skin cells, and it itches. But, unlike athlete's 
foot and ringworm, Geomyces destrnctaris 
consumes living skin cells as well. So, it itch- 
es a lot. Enough to waken hibernating bats, 
who burn precious fat reserves every time 
they stir from their deep slumber. Disturbed 
enough, hibernating bats may deplete their 
energy stores and begin to starve. Desperate, 
some bats take to the winter skies, seeking 
insects that won't emerge for weeks or even 

So, it seems possible that hibernating 
bats are literally being irritated to death. 

But, then again, maybe not. According 
to Reynolds, some dead bats appear to have 
no signs of the characteristic white fungus 
and even seem to be of a healthy weight. If 

And then there's this: Biologists suspect 
the fungus may be a transplant from Europe, 
where bats have been found with the charac- 
teristic Rmgus but do not appear to be dying 
from their infections. Are European bats re- 
sistant? Does this mean North American 
bats could develop a resistance too? Or, is the 
European strain of this ftmgus somehow dif- 
ferent? Less lethal? For now, all we can do is 
add these to the lengthy list of unanswered 

Among all these questions, there is one 
thing we know for sure. We are going to miss 
our bats. Researchers estimate that the one 
million or more bats that have already died 
from White-Nose Syndrome would have 
consumed more than 700 tons of flying in- 
sects last year. As WNS spreads, and as more 
bats die, that number will grow larger. Hun- 
dreds of tons of moths, beetles, and mosqui- 
toes — flying insects that a healthy bat 
population normally controls — will be un- 
leashed on our agricultural crops and family 

Bat skull and remains in a WNS-affected site, October 2010. Courtesy of Ann Froschauer, 

these apparently healthy bats are dying from 
the same underlying cause as their white- 
nosed peers, then perhaps the fungus is 
nothing more than an opportunistic infec- 
tion, taking advantage of an already weak- 
ened immune system. Basically, a symptom 
of something else. Something nastier. 

picnics. The economic, environmental, and 
emotional costs of White-Nose Syndrome 
will climb high. 

Five years have passed since the first 
white-nosed bats were spotted in a New 
York cave. Since then, the fijngus has over- 
taken New England, reached south through 

Virginia to North Carolina, and spread as 
far west as Oklahoma. Eventually, every hi- 
bernating bat in North America may be 
touched by White Nose Syndrome. With 
luck, some of them will survive. For now, all 
we can do is support WNS research, hope 
for survivors, and cheer on ever)' bat we see 
in the evening sky. ?f 

Crhtina Santiestevan writes about wildlife and 
the environment from her home in Virginias Blue 
Ridge Mountains. 

Act Wild 

Three simple actions you can take for bats: 

1. Install a bat house. Like bird houses, 
these small wooden structures can be 
mounted on buildings or trees, and 
provide a snug home for bats. Because 
the boxes stay warmer than drafty barns 
or caves, they may increase the chances 
of survival for some bat species. Bat 
Conservational International provides 
detailed instructions, via their website, 
for building and installing bat houses: 

2. Avoid bat caves. Scientists have con- 
firmed that White-Nose Syndrome can 
spread through bat-to-bat transmission. 
But the fungus may also spread on con- 
taminated clothing and caving gear. Help 
reduce the risk of exposure by avoiding 
caves throughout the Northeast and 
Mid-Atlantic states. If you must enter a 
cave, or have come in contact with an 
infected bat, please observe the recom- 
mended decontamination procedures, 
available online at: 

3. Talk about bats. One of the greatest 
challenges with White-Nose Syndrome 
is lack of public awareness of the dis- 
ease, and appreciation for bats. Share 
your knowledge about bats with your 
friends and family to help others appre- 
ciate their value. And talk about the 
threat of White-Nose Syndrome. Learn 
more through these websites: 
• Bat Conservation International - 

MAY 2011 ♦ 25 
















Take the initiative to 
introduce someone to 

fishing this year. 
The rewards 

are tremendous. 

photos and story 

There's a right way and definitely a wrong 
way to introduce a newcomer to the 
wonders ot fishing. Certain methods 
and techniques that help teach fishing to 
novices will greatly increase the odds of get- 
ting them "hooked." 

A few years ago I served as an adjunct 
faculty member for a community college in 
Richmond, and had the pleasure ot teaching 
two classes: beginner and intermediate fresh- 
water fishing. I also instructed for Chester- 
field Count)' Parks & Recreation, mainly tor 
kids. Frequently I would conduct seminars 
throughout the state on fishing tips, ad- 
vanced techniques, and places to fish — to au- 
diences of all ages. 

I found it difficult at first to reach atten- 
dees who were new to angling. For instance, 
overhearing a conversation between two ex- 
perienced anglers appears to be a completely 
foreign language to a novice, llie lesson 
learned there was to speak in terms the new- 
comer could understand, llie goal was — and 
still is — to cultivate a desire tor a newcomer 
to want to fish, to be outdoors, and to enjoy 
ihat time with kids and family. If a new an- 
gler feels completely ovei'whelmed and lost 
in the lingo, he might throw his hands up in 
the air and walk away. Tliat's obviously not 
the reaction we are looking for. 


Introducing kids to fishing early on in life will help reinforce their desire to fish and spend time outdoors. 

One technique I tried helped quite a 
bit. Even a quick learner can get confused 
when learning to tie fishing knots. The line is 
thin, oftentimes clear, and hard to see. That 
makes it difHcult to follow the steps involved 
along the way. For this, I unfolded a standard 
coat hanger and formed it into a giant fish- 
ing hook. For the line, I used a '/4-inch diam- 
eter rope. This was so much easier for 
students to follow. It made sense to them 
and greatly assisted with learning vital fish- 
ing knots — such as the Palomar knot, the 
Trilene" knot, the improved clinch knot, 
and the basic uni-knot. 

For beginners, the improved clinch 
knot is all that is required. It can be used in 
almost all traditional freshwater rigging with 
spin-casting, spinning, or bait-casting gear. 

If an angler could only pick one knot to tie, this 
would likely be the one. 

Keep Up the Interest 

One quick way to kill any hope of grooming 
future anglers is to take them on a trip where 
catching fish requires advanced skills. For ex- 
ample, when resident experts are crying the 
blues about the largemouth bass not biting at 
the local lake in the blazing-hot summer, it's 
probably not the opportune time to teach 
someone to drag a Carolina-rigged plastic 
worm over deep-water humps. Instead, stack 
the odds in your favor and choose times and 
species that are willing to bite and easy to catch. 
Many species come to mind. Whether 
you invite along a 4-year-old kid or a 60-year- 
old adult, bream are among the easiest freshwa- 

ter species to catch. They can turn an other- 
wise boring day into one that a new angler 
will remember for years. Other excellent 
species to pursue are hickory and American 
shad during their annual spring runs in Vir- 
ginia's tidal rivers. White and black crappie or 
channel catfish are also usually willing to play. 
And chasing the above-mentioned fish 
doesn't tiike a suitcase full of lures and gear to 

Using bobbers (;ilso ciilled floats) is hin 
for folks new to fishing, because it signals 
what is going on beneath the water's surface. 
Baits such as night crawlers, minnows, chick- 
en livers, crickets, or red wigglers will catch 
many species offish. Tlie goal is action. Kids, 
and adults too for that matter, will lose inter- 
est if nothing is happening. To help keep 

MAY 2011 ♦ 27 

Red wigglers paired with a sinker will fool bream in many of Virginia's ponds, lakes, 
and rivers. 

When teaching someone to tie fishing 
knots, it is helpful to start with a rope. 

boredom at bay, try using live bait for easy-to- 
catch fish that will make tor a fun day. 

Make casting fian — not a lesson in pin- 
point accuracy. You might suggest a contest 
where the person closest to the t;irget, or the 
one who makes the smallest splash, doesn't 
have to clean the fish (if taking any home). 

Choose Easy Access 

It's best to choose easy access to fishing holes. 
Don't take a newbie to the hinterlands, park 
the truck, load him from head to toe with 
gear, and tell him to follow you on a two-mile 
hike through thickets and briars to reach the 
secret honey hole an hour later. Make it easy. 
Ij3cal public lakes, farm ponds, state parks, 
rivers, and streams can all be accessed with 
ease, and without a boat. 

Many of the Department-owned lakes 
have accessible piers for people to spread out 

and enjoy a day together. Often there will be 
brush or other sunken structure to help at- 
tract fish to the pier. 

There are many locations in Virginia 
that rent equipment. Jonboats or canoes are 
easy to operate and many concessionaires rent 
them for hourly or daily use. Bank fishing is 
available at most bodies of water. 

Plan AheadandPick Your Day 

This seems like common sense, but choose 
days when the weather is pleasant. Howling 
winds, 45-degree air temperature, and side- 
ways rain will not likely result in a newcomer 
asking to go again! If summertime days are 
brutal, one option is to venture out at dusk, 
llie bite can turn on and the temperature is 
more tolerable. 

If rain is in the forecast, plan appropri- 
ately. It is also important to pack food and 

♦ Visit the Department's website to learn more about locations across Virginia to 
fish, available amenities, and fishing regulations at 

♦ Learn about the Future Fisherman Foundation ("Hooked on Fishing — Not on 
Drugs") and 

♦ Register for fishing workshops at your county parks and recreation department. 

♦ Attend fishing shows and expos to speak with industry experts. 

♦ Wiitch fishing shows on FV to learn more in advance of a fishing trip. 

♦ Read fishing articles, whether your role is student or teacher. 

drinks for fishing trips. Drinks containing 
sugar or cafl^eine are not the best choice, par- 
ticularly during hot months. Foods that are 
easy to handle and not too messy work best. 

Equipmenl Do's and Don'ts 

Just as you wouldnt start a novice golfer out 
by having him or her hit a Big Bertha driver 
on the first tee, the same thinking applies to 
fishing. The worst thing to do is hand a begin- 
ner a bait-casting reel and tell him to have at it. 
Even experienced anglers get the dreaded 
"bird's nest" snarl from time to time with 
highly efficient and effective reels. Such reels 
have no place in a novice's arsenal. Start easy 
with spin-casting equipment. Once casting is 
learned on these rigs, graduate to spinning 
gear before stepping into the bait-casting fray. 


Nothing can capture the moment like a cam- 
era or camcorder. ITie smile on the face of 
someone who just caught their first fish makes 
for a wonderful photograph. Take some can- 
did shots in addition to staged photos to recall 
the true experience. Action photos or video is 
a great angle to take, as well; such memories 
can last a lifetime. ?f 

Marc N. McGladc has taught fishing classes to 
hundreds of young kids, teens, and adults. He hopes 
Jitture generations will love the outdoors as much ( 
he does. 


VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.conn 


M Classics 

Fly Fishing the Mid-Atlantic: 

A No Nonsense Guide to Top Waters 

by Beau Beasley 

201 1 No Nonsense Fly Fishing Guidebooks 

(520) 547-2462 

Soft cover with color illustrations/photos/ 



"The best way to go fly fishing is to find out a little 
something about a water, and then just go there. 
Experimentation, trial and error, wrong turns, 
surprises, self-reliance and new discoveries, even 
in familiar ivaters are what >nake the manories. " 
—The No Nonsense Creed 

Long-time readers of^ Virginia WildlifewiW rec- 
ognize the name Beau Beasley. Not only is he a 
frequent contributor to a number of well-re- 
spected outdoor and fishing-related publica- 
tions, he also serves as current director of The 
Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival. Beau 
is a tireless advocate for the fly-fishing waters 
of the mid-Atlantic region, and in 2007, he 
enthusiastically shared a good chunk of re- 
gional fishing wisdom in his first No Non- 
sense Guide publication, Fly Fishing Virgitiia, 
which has become an L.L. Bean bestseller. 

This new book takes readers on a tour of 
top mid-Atlantic fly fishing destinations, tra- 
versing seven states: Delaware, Maryland, 
New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, 
Virginia, and West Virginia. Beau spent near- 
ly two years researching information for this 
new volume. He personally visited and fished 
every location, met with neighboring outfit- 
ters, perused tackle shops, and interviewed 
local guides. 

ITie result is a must-have resource con- 
taining detailed maps of each fishing spot, area 

photos, known hatches, suggested flies and 
equipment, season and creel limits, accom- 
modations, and family-friendly activities. For 
example, in the sidebar accompanying 
Lehigh River information. Beau includes de- 
tails on the Crayola Crayon Factory tour. 
Beau is a firm believer in mentoring the next 
generation of young anglers, and this wide- 
ranging volume will make planning family 
vacations and fishing trips a snap. 

Apart from the excellent data value of 
each state-specific chapter are the six pages of 
though tfiilly included color plates of flies for 
fishing mid-Atlantic waters: dry flies and ter- 
restrials, nymphs, streamers and wet flies, 
warmwater, saltwater, and striper flies. 

Attention Waterfowl 
Blind Licensees 

There has been a change in the dates when 
stationary blind licenses can be purchased 
and posted. The change was made to avoid 
confusion and overlap between when ripari- 
an and non-riparian blind licenses can be 
purchased and erected. The change creates 
separate time periods for the purchase and 
posting of stationary blind licenses based on 
whether you purchased the blind license as a 
riparian owner, as a non-riparian owner for a 
blind that had been licensed in the previous 
year, or as a non-riparian owner for a blind 
that had not been licensed in the previous 
year. The new dates for the purchase of sta- 
tionary blind licenses are as listed below: 

•♦■ Riparian owners, djeir lessees or permit- 
tees: May 1 through June 15; plates 
with current decal must be affixed to a 
stake or blind by June 30. 

■♦• Nonriparian license for a stationary blind 
in the public ivaters previously licensed the 
year before: July 1 through August 15; 
plates with current decal must be affixed 
to a stake or blind by August 3 1 . 

■♦■ Nonriparian license for a stationary blind 
in the public waters not previously licensed 
the year before: September 1 through 
October 15; plates with current decal 
must be affixed to a stake or blind by 
November 1. 

There has been no change in the date that a 
stationary blind must be erected. For all sta- 
tionary blinds, if a stake has been erected on 
the site of a stationary blind, such stake must 
be replaced by a blind by November 1 . 

The other major change waterfowl 
hunters will need to be aware of is the way 
blind licenses are purchased. All blind licenses 
will now be available through the depart- 
ment's point of sale (POS) system just as 
other licenses are sold. You no longer have to 
go to the license agent in the county where 
your blind will be located. You can go to any 
license agent in the state or you can do it on 
the Internet from your home! 

In the case of stationary blind applicants 
the same information provided to agents in 
the past will be collected by the license sales 
systems. This includes the county and body 
of water where the blind will be located. 

A license will be provided to you at the 
time of sale. Applicants will have the option 
to request that a blind plate be sent if they do 
not already have one. The blind plate, if re- 
quested, and a decal for the plate will be 
mailed to you within 3 to 5 business days. 

Information on the new dates and the 
purchasing process is posted on our website 
and will be listed in our hunting and water- 
fowl regulation brochures. Thank you lor 
your support of our wetland and waterfowl 

Vlrgiiiia Pepartwext of »awc md Inliiid FitbcrUt "^I^H 

Outdoor Report ^^^ 

Managing and Conterving ^W 

For a free email subscription, 

visit our website at 


Click on the Outdoor Report link and 

simply fill in the required information. 


In our March issue, on page 20, we incor- 
rectly identified a jumping spider as a 
wolf spider. We apologize for the mistake. 

Report Wildlife Violations 

MAY 2011 ♦ 29 

Don't Take That Feeder 
Down Too Early Next Fall 

My family vacation home near Endicott 
provides me with many opportunities to 
observe wildlife. In late October of 2009 I 
had planned to take our hummingbird 
feeder down but, before I could do so, I ob- 
served what appeared to be one humming- 
bird still around. It was obviously shocking 
to see one that late, particularly in the 
mountains, but we refilled the feeder and 
hung it back out. 

Tlie next day I looked out the back 
window where the feeder was hanging and 
there was a hummingbird feeding. I eased 
up to the window and saw that it appeared 
to be a rufous hummingbird, whose GPS 
had gotten off a bit during his flight from 
Alaska to Mexico. I had been using my 

500mm with a 1.4 teleconverter to shoot 
some cedar waxwings and, in the excite- 
ment, did not take time to remove it. I took 
some shots but did not get what I consid- 
ered good qualit)'. 

The next morning I took the telecon- 
verter off my camera and was able to get a 
little closer and shoot with the lens wide 
open (f4). The sun comes up behind our 
cabin and when it clears the ridge behind 
us, it shines fuU light right on my feeder. 
Knowing hummers need to feed 3 to 5 
times per hour gives you a little more pa- 
tience, because this time of year you have 
the only game in town. I proceeded to shoot 
at 6 frames per second every time he came 
to the feeder. The light allowed me to get 
my shutter speed up high enough to show 
his wings, and that is as good as it gets! 

I later obtained the concurrence of a 
more knowledgeable bird watcher (Lang- 
horne Bell) and, sure enough, it was a ru- 
fous hummingbird. This past November, he 
paid us another visit over the Thanksgiving 
weekend — quite a nice surprise! 

So, with that in mind, next year leave 
the feeder up a while longer and pay close 
attention to what is feeding. 

This story and photos were contributed by Horace 
L. Best, a CPA who spends much of his non-working 
hours in the mountains of Virginia where, he says, 
there is no place he would rather be. 

Top, first sighting of rufous hummingbird, 
Oct. 2009. Here, the author believes the 
same bird returned in late Nov. 2010. 

Ihc Virginia Herpetological Society will 
help Virginia State Parks celebrate their 75''' 
birthday by holding the Annual Survey and 
Meeting at the state's largest state park, Poc- 
ahontas State Park near Richmond, May 
20-22. Almost 8,000 acres are available to 
the VHS in our Hrst large-scale survey 
around Richmond. Pocahontas State Park 
is relatively centralized in the state, and has 
a lot of on-site amenities for family mem- 
bers not atttending the survey. For more in- 
formation, go to: 

1 1 -events/201 1 -events.htm. 


Virginia Wildlife Photo Issue 

is now available for purchase. 

Order your copy today at 



"Well, I got a hunting and fishing 
license and I'm going to use them." 

ZOU Kicks V FlsklKg 
fkotoCoKtesfc . 

JUNE 18 

Go to www.HuntFisHX^reo'. 
for contest details. ^^-^^ '^ 



Why Deer Must Remain 
Wild in Virginia 

White-tailed deer and other native wildlife 
belong to no one person, but instead, are held 
in trust for the benefit of all Virginians. A few 
facilities are allowed to possess native or exotic 
deer in the state, and to do so they are permit- 
ted by the Department (DGIF) for educa- 
tional or rehabilitation purposes. 

Deer, like ;ill wild animals, are potential- 
ly dangerous to people when threatened or 
confined. Fawns that are bottle-fed by hu- 
mans become particularly aggressive as they 
mature. Mature male deer are most likely to 
attack people during the fall breeding season. 
Since 1 988, at least 45 deer have attacked hu- 
mans in the United States and Canada, re- 
sulting in 5 1 human injuries and 9 deaths. 

Moving deer from one place to another 
and/or confining them within captive facili- 
ties increases the risk oi disease transmission 
to other wildlife, to domestic animals, and to 
humans. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) 
and bovine tuberculosis (TB) are two diseases 
that can be spread by confining or moving 
deer. The DGIF remains vigilant in its at- 
tempts to prevent forther spread of CWD, 
found currently in Frederick County and ad- 
jacent Hampshire County, West Virginia. 

The Department strongly discourages 
people from keeping wild animals as pets. 
Many people do not folly appreciate the care 
required by wildlife. 

What Happens to Tame Deer 

When VDGIF discovers a tame deer that is 
held illegally. Department personnel must 
confiscate and destroy the deer. This is unpleas- 
ant but necessary because: 

• It would be irresponsible to ignore the po- 
tential risks to wildlifo diseases and to 
human safety; 

• A tame deer usually cannot be rehabilitat- 
ed and/or released into the wild; and 

• When not knowing the origin ol an ille- 
gally-held deer, even zoos are reluctant to 
accept these animals because of potential 
disease threats. 

What You Can Do to Help 

To keep deer wild and to protect our wildlife 
resources, you can help by doing the following: 

1 . If you find a fawn, please leave it where 
you found it. It is normal for female deer 
to leave their hidden fawns alone for long 
periods as the adults feed. 

2. Report pet or tame deer to DGIF. While 
you may hesitate to call if it means the 
deer will be destroyed, please know that 
you are doing the right thing. Addressing 
the problem early will reduce risks of 
human injury and animal disease trans- 
mission and prevent deer from being 
tamed and destroyed in the foture. 

DGIF offices are located in: Richmond (804) 
367-6482; Charles City (804) 829-6580; For- 
est (434) 525-7522; Marion (276) 783-4860; 
Verona (540) 248-9360; and Fredericksburg 


Congratulations go to Brandie Nicholson 
of Locust Dale for her very cool shot of 
slugs mating at night! (How in the heck did 
you spot this?) A slug is hermaphroditic, 
meaning that it has both male and female 
organs. This image reveals the process 
involved when slugs begin to mate. We 
suggest you use your imagination! Here, 
Brandie captured the beginning of the 
action. Nature is so amazing! Kodak 
EasyShare Z812 IS Zoom Digital camera set 
on the Night Portrait setting. 

You are invited to submit one to five of 
your best photographs to "Image of the 
Month," Virginia Wildlife Magazine, P.O. 
Box 11104, 4010 West Broad Street, 
Richmond, VA 23230-1104. Send original 
slides, super high-quality prints, or 
high-res jpeg, tiff, or raw files on a disk 
and include a self-addressed, stamped 
envelope or other shipping method for 
return. Also, please include any pertinent 
information regarding how and where 
you captured the image and what camera 
and settings you used, along with your 
phone number. We look forward to seeing 
and sharing your work with our readers. 

States with newspaper reports of captive and free-ranging deer attacking people during the 
period 1988-2010 (in green). 

MAY 20n ♦ 31 

Photo "TlFs 

by Lynda Richardson 

New Categories for the Photo Contest 

Congratulations to all who entered this 
years Annual Photography Contest! 
It was a huge hit, and we are very pleased 
with the March 201 1 issue. To shake things 
up a bit, the staff of the magazine have decid- 
ed to challenge our readers to something dif- 
ferent: new categories for submissions! Here 
are the changes we made. 

Scenic Seasons, which originally called 
for images with an obvious seasonal theme, 
will now be titled Landscapes. In this new 
category, we will be looking specifically for 
gorgeous landscape photographs taken any- 
where in Virginia. 

Cold & Clammy Critters has been 
changed to Under the Surface. This new 
category should bring out a lot of creativity 
in our contestants! We will be looking for im- 
ages shot underwater, as well as from the sur- 
face down into the water. Subjects could 
include crayfish, salamanders, fish, aquatic 
insects, jellyfish, and other watery life forms. 
Examples of this can be seen in this year's 
first- and third-place winners: Jim Kirby's 
image of tadpoles in the shadow of a 
sycamore tree and Dudley Olcott's jellyfish, 
taken from a dock. 

The Sporting Life is now Gone Fishing. 
Here, we would like you to investigate fish- 
ing as a journey and not necessarily focus on 
the quest of the biggest catch. In this category 
it will be very important for subjects to have 
on their life jackets where appropriate (age 
five and under when in a boat). Images sub- 
mitted without appropriate safety gear will 
be disqualified. 

Marvelous Mammals will now be called 
Furry Critters but please, do not send us im- 
ages of your pets or farm animals! We will be 
looking for the same delightful game mam- 
mals (including hunting scenes) that have 
been submitted in the past but are hoping 
that folks will expand their efforts beyond 
the obvious whitctail deer and gray squirrel 

Under the Surface will be a challenging cate- 
gory, no doubt! One March, during their brief 
breeding season, I photographed this spotted 
salamander in a vernal pool at night. The 
salamander was under water and I shot this 
image while standing above it, using a flash 
and the help of others holding flashlights so 
I could find and focus on my subject. 
© 2009 Lynda Richardson 

into fiirry, nongame species such as mice, 
moles, flying squirrels, and skunks (be care- 

A Bug's Life has been replaced with Pat- 
terns & Textures. Now 1 know there will be 
a bunch of bug photographers out there who 
will groan when they read this, but don't de- 
spair! This category is made to chdlenge you 
to GET EVEN CLOSER! Photograph a 
super close-up of a butterfly's wing or the 
eyes of a jumping spider. We are hoping to 

challenge photographers to shoot in a way 
they might not have tried before. Examples 
might include: close-ups of fungus, repeated 
patterns of the leaves of a fern, a beautiful 
grouping of seed pods, scales of a freshly 
caught brook trout, the lines of a fence or 
trees along a road, or a bunch of shells on the 
beach. Use your imagination! 

Birds of a Feather will now simply be 
called Birds. We knew better than to mess 
with this popular category. All we ask is that 
you submit only native birds photographed 
in Virginia. Please DO NOT submit pets 
and/or domestic birds such as chickens, par- 
rots, and/or peafowl. 

Fantastic Flowers has been eliminated 
to make room for A Dog's Life. 1 am very 
excited about this category! In A Dog's Life 
we are looking for hunting dogs in action. A 
great example is this year's first-place winner, 
Douglas Graham's Weimaraner hunting in 
the snow. 

Another change: this year we are com- 
bining the two Kids and Cameras categories 
into one. Kids and Cameras will now be for 
ages 6 to 1 6 years and kids may submit any 
images pertaining to the above categories. 

As a surprise, we have added a bonus 
Humor section in all categories. I'm not 
sure how a landscape can be fiinny, but we 
are encouraging participants to enter any 
humorous images they come up with in the 
given categories. One winner will be select- 
ed in the ////wor category, and a prize will be 

We hope that these changes will inspire 
contestants to experiment with something 
new and different. And to help you along 
the way, there will be several Photo Tips 
columns that offer ideas about how to tackle 
some of these new categories. I hope you 
will find this to be a fun and ch;illenging 
year of photography. Good Luck and 
Happy Shooting! 


VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ w/w/w.HunfFisfiVA.conn 

n the Water 

by Tom Guess 

Understanding Marine Weather Forecasts 

Have you ever listened to the marine 
weather forecast and wondered what 
it really means? I spent many years listening to 
those forecasts, reading them, and broadcast- 
ing urgent marine messages for boaters when 
impending foul weather was approaching. 
The other thing that I recall doing often while 
assigned to various stations throughout my 
Coast Guard days was hoisting those mysteri- 
ous flags that tell you what the forecast is. 

Things to pay attention to regarding 
weather are a small craft advisory, and gale, 
storm, or tropical warnings and hurricanes. 

I am often asked what constitutes a small 
craft. There is no solid definition of what a 
small craft is. The vessel itself is less critical 
than the operator's experience with how that 
vessel handles inclement weather, strong 
winds, and heavy seas. As a rule, I would con- 
sider anything less than 65 foet in length to be 
a small craft — depending on whether you are 
on open or protected waters. 

■♦■ Small Cmfi Advisory: Forecast winds of 
18 to 33 knots (21 to 38 mph). Small 
craft advisories may also be issued for 
hazardous sea conditions or lower wind 

speeds that may affect small craft opera- 
tions. Denoted by a single red pennant 
or by two vertical lights consisting oi a 
red over a white. 

"♦• Gale Warning: Forecast winds of 34 to 
47 knots (39 to 54 mph). Denoted by 
two red pennants flying, one above the 
other, or two vertical lights consisting of 
a white over a red. 

■^ Storm Warning: Forecast winds of 48 
knots (55 mph) or greater. Denoted by a 
red flag with a black square in the middle 
or by two vertical red lights consisting of 
a red over a red. 

•♦" Tropical Storm Warning: Forecast winds 
ot 48 to 63 knots (55 to 73 mph) associ- 
ated with a tropical storm. This is denot- 
ed by a red flag with a black square in the 
middle or by two vertical lights consist- 
ing of a red over a red. 

"^Hurricane Warning: Forecast winds of 
64 knots (74 mph) or higher associated 
with a hurricane. This is denoted by two 
red flags with black squares in the mid- 
dle flying vertically one above the other. 

or by three vertical lights consisting of a 
red over a white over a red. 

Also important to understand: 

"^ Dew Point: In its simplest terms, the 
dew point is the temperature at which 
relative humidity becomes dew. This 
can come in the form of precipitation 
or fog. 

■♦■ Barometric Pressure: When the barome- 
ter is falling, it means that the atmos- 
pheric pressure is dropping or 
falling — which leads to storms and rain 
or other precipitation, depending on 
the temperature. When the barometric 
pressure is rising, it means fair, dry 
weather ahead. 

Remember, the best approach is to get 
the weather forecast before you go out and if 
it's forecasted to be bad, don't go. It's much 
more fun to boat when you have "Fair 
Winds and Following Seas! " Until next 
time: Be Responsible, Be Safe, and Have 

Tom Guess, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret), serves as the 
state boating kiiu administrator at the DGIF. 



Small Craft Warning 

Gale Warning 

Storm Warning 

Hurricane Warning 

MAY 20n ♦ 33 

\^ Dining In 

by Ken and Maria Perrotte 

Confit of Upland Game Bird 

Wild quail or grouse can be hard ro find, bur licensed 
shooting preserves ofi^er thousands oi Virginia 
wingshooters excellent opportunities to get their pointing 
dogs some work and some delicate meat for the dinner table. 

The legs ajid thighs of any bird cook very differently than 
breast meat. For some pheasant and chukar, we borrowed the 
art of confit, an old French method tor making the legs tender 
and tasty. This method slightly cures the meat and slowly 
cooks it in fat until tender. To get the needed quantity of fat, 
use all olive oil or mix the olive oil with chicken, duck, or 
goose fat. Due to flavoring, though, don't use too much duck 
or goose tat. Once the meat is eaten, the fat can be re-used. 

Making Confit 


6 legs of pheasant or 8 of chukar 
4 to 6 cups of olive oil, butter, lard, 
or chicken fat 

Brine Ingredients 

V4 cup kosher salt 

2 tablespoons dried thyme 

1 whole black peppercorns 
1 tablespoon rosemary 
1 bay leaf 

3 cloves garlic 

Vi lemon cut into 4 or 6 pieces 

1 cup orange juice 

2 quarts water (more or less may 
be needed) 

Combine brine ingredients in a large glass or ceramic bowl. 
Add legs, and if necessary, add water to ensure they are fiilly 
covered with brine. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours but 
no longer than 72. The longer you brine, the saltier and more 
cured the meat. 

Remove legs from liquid; place in a deep roasting pan 
just large enough to accommodate the meat. Add fat and olive 
oil, covering legs completely. Cook at 225° to 250° for about 5 
hours. The fat should be lightly bubbling during cooking. 
When done, the meat should be tender and easily separate 
from the bone. 

Cool and pack with the fat in airtight containers. Com- 
pletely surround the legs with the fat. It will keep in the refrig- 
erator for a couple of weeks or up to a year in the freezer. 

To cat, drain the oil from the meat, blot the meat with 
paper towels, and then debone to add to a host of salad and 
pasta dishes where the meat is as much a seasoning as the 
main course. 

Confit Appetizer 

Vi cup confit meat 

3 teaspoons olive oil, divided 

1 cup diced peeled eggplant 

'4 teaspoon salt 

1 tablespoon diced roasted green chili peppers 

Goat cheese 

Pita bread 

Fruit SgIsg 

V4 cup mango, diced 

Vi cup pineapple, diced 

1 tablespoon red onion, diced 

1 tablespoon dried cranberries 

2 teaspoons lime juice 

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
Vi teaspoon chopped cilantro 
14 teaspoon ground ginger 
'/4 teaspoon cumin 

Peel and dice the eggplant, toss with salt, place on paper 
towel or coffee filter, and let sit for about 20 min. to remove 
moisture. Drain confit from oil and debone. Pat with a 
paper towel to remove excess oil. Shred meat into V4- to 
1 -inch pieces. In a small skillet, saute the eggplant in 2 
teaspoons oil over medium heat until soft and golden 
brown. Toss together the meat, eggplant, and chilies. 

Heat the other teaspoon olive oil over med-high heat. 
Slice the pita in half and split to make four pieces. Add to 
the pan and lightly toast on both sides. Spread a layer of 
goat cheese on each piece of bread and top with about 2 
tablespoons of meat mixture. Garnish with more goat 
cheese. Serve with salsa and toasted pecans or walnuts. 

To make the salsa, mix ;ill ingredients and refrigerate 
for at least an hour to blend flavors. You can also use more 
meat mixture to make a pita pocket sandwich. This makes a 
nice lunch when served with a green salad topped with rasp- 
berry vinaigrette dressing. 

The rest of the bird. . . 

We often separate the legs and thighs from the breasts of 
any larger upland bird. This breast meat can be used in most 
chicken recipes. For example, the pheasant and chukar were 
added to a penne pasta casserole, cobbled together with a 
simple mix of the breasts, a litde ham, butter, olive oil, 
mixed cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and some 
rosemary. Just remember, those pheasant and chukar 
breasts will really dry out ii overcooked. Brown them a little 
and then finish the cooking in the casserole where they'll 
pick up some of the moisture from other ingredients. 


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For information about how to gear up for the summer, get your boat ready, 
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You Do Not Need to Register If You: 

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In doubt? Visit the FIP website or call the Va. Marine Resources Commission at (757) 247-2200. to register online 
or call toll-free 800-723-2728. 

The Virginia Fisherman Identification Program is a state 

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Anglers can register online at or 

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©Gregory J. Pels